Kili Trek - Day 6 (Summit Day)

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Millennium camp

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, February 10, 2008

The big day! Woke up at midnight for a summit attempt of the biggest mountain in Africa , one of the 7 summits. Woke up feeling pretty rough after only a couple of hours of sleep. The plan was to summit at dawn, which is 6.30 and let the Tanzanian morning sun warm the cold bones.
This final ascent was by far the hardest I have every done. It involved 1300m ascent from 4700m to just under 6000m, at these altitudes your body takes a real hammering in all respects. We started the ascent from Barafu camp, the previous day there was quite a bit of snowfall at Barafu, so the trail was covered with snow and ice which made conditions under foot rather treacherous. The ascent took 6 hours to stellar point, these were the hardest 6 hours of trekking I have every done, it was -12 degrees, high altitude and you can't really see where you're going. The trail was scattered with light from other trekkers head torches, it was surreal scene with these artificial lights merging with the star light over the mountain. When we reached stellar point the sun rose and my morale was immediately lifted, although technically the summit had been reached, the highest point is a caldera wall called Uhuru, which is a further 40 minute trek with beautiful glacial fields either side. Finally reached the world famous Kili board indicating you've reached the true summit. For a minute or two there was no one else on the whole African continent that was stood on higher ground than me, pretty darn cool! Only spend around 10 minutes there before descending back down to 3700m to millennium camp via a short stop at Barafu camp. A very long day in the mountains, the toughest I've ever had!
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